The Hens were down in Lynchburg, Virginia this past weekend, where they split the series against the Liberty University Flames. Friday night the team came out victorious with a 4-2 win, and Saturday they fell 5-3.
Friday night the teams met up at 7:00 for puck drop at the LaHaye ice center. Starting lineup for the game was Dustin Rabinowitz, Cole Zucker, John Redgate, Jakob DeFares, Devin Jenny and Dylan Troiano. From the get go, intensity was high as both teams knew this was an important game. Delaware used their speed to their advantage. Both teams were playing hard. A Blue Hen went to the box, and the Hens were on the penalty kill. DeFares scored an amazing, shorthanded goal after an incredible passing combination with Pierce Lamberton with just under five minutes left in the period. There was some really great passing made by Delaware, and the team was working well together on the ice. The period came to a close, and the score was 1-0, Hens.
Going into the second with a one man advantage, the Hens knew that they needed to play strong in order to keep their lead. About seven minutes in and a Delaware player in the box, the team was on the penalty kill. Redgate scored a beautiful, unassisted, shorthanded goal to extend their lead over the Flames. From that moment on, the game began to get chippy. With a lot of penalties drawn on both teams, there wasn’t much five on five hockey being played. The period ended with a score of 2-0, UD.
Coming into the third, the Flames were going to do everything that they could to keep themselves in the game. They came out strong and flooded out defensive zone. Our defenders stayed strong, and Troiano stayed even stronger. He made a few really incredible saves in a row, but with about thirteen minutes left of play, the Flames snuck one into our net. Two minutes later, the Hens responded, and Zucker got one past the Liberty goalie. And seconds after that, the home team scored again. In the lead by one, Delaware knew that they needed to keep their heads high and finish out the period strong. With a minute left in the period, Liberty pulled their goalie. Chris Mazzella solidified the win for the Hens when he scored an empty netter. The final score of the game was 4-2, Delaware.
Tommy Cascone, freshman defender, shared his thoughts on the game. “It was tough at first playing in front of a crowd that large, but it got easier after the puck drop. We came out fast and hard, matching Liberty’s intensity. Troiano made some huge saves to keep us in the game.” Dylan Troiano added, “Liberty came out strong in the first period, as they always do on their home ice putting nineteen shots on net. We got a couple of bounces on the penalty kill, leading to two shorthanded goals, which was huge. Zucker came up big, scoring the game winning goal midway through the third period, giving us a chance to put them away.”
Starting lineup for Saturday night’s 7:00 puck drop was the same as the night before. Both teams were ready to put up one final fight to try and come out with the win. Nearly thirty seconds in, Rabinowitz scored off of an assist from Redgate. The Flames responded quickly, and scored about two minutes after. The Flames used their size to their advantage, and there were a lot of penalties called throughout the rest of the first. The period ended with the score tied up at one.
Coming out in the second to an even game, the team needed to step up and play hard. About six minutes in, the Flames scored on a shorthanded breakaway. Shook by the goal, the Hens needed to stay in the game. Much like the first there were a lot of penalties drawn on both teams, and they came out of the period down by one.
Back out on the ice for the third, the Hens calmed their nerves and came out ready to give it their all for the last twenty minutes of play. Liberty scored quickly in the first minute on a power play. Things got chippy, and there was some four on three hockey being played in our favor. Max Freeman found the back of the net off an assist from DeFares and Mazzella. Not even a minute later, DeFares tied up the game for the Hens off a pass from Michael Nisky. Things were getting heated! The team was relentless, until they found themselves back in some trouble with penalties. Liberty was able to take the lead on the power play with just under seven minutes left in the game. They did the same thing nearly three minutes later. The game ended with the Flames winning 5-3.
Reflecting on the game, Max Freeman said, “We started out flat, but used the energy from the opposition and the atmosphere at the LaHaye to come out strong in the third. Undisciplined penalties and lack of judgement lost us the game. Overall, it was a solid weekend, but we left two points on the table Saturday.” Chris Mazzella said, “It was a tough game for us. We had a couple guys hurt, and took too many penalties that cost us. But, we’re looking forward to the trip to Colorado.”
The team is on the road again this weekend. They are heading across the country to Colorado, where they will play three games. Thursday night, the Hens will play the University of Colorado, and then they will have a series against Colorado State. Talking about all that this weekend has in store for Blue Hen hockey fans, Zucker said, “It’s a big test for us after just getting back from Virginia. Colorado, Boulder, is a good team, and this is an opportunity for us to move up in the ranking. Colorado State is going to be a good match up. They are a skilled team so it will be another good test. This would be a huge weekend for us to pull out a three win sweep.” After the Thanksgiving break, the team will be back at the Rust for a series against their rival, Stony Brook University. As always, keep up with our social media pages for updates on all things UD hockey.
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Written By: Analisa Vizzoni